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Journal of Botany
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 368572, 9 pages
Research Article

Ethnobotanical Study of Tehsil Kabal, Swat District, KPK, Pakistan

Department of Botany, University of Peshawar, Peshawar, Pakistan

Received 30 July 2011; Accepted 20 October 2011

Academic Editor: Andrew Wood

Copyright © 2011 Imtiaz Ahmad et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A total of 140 plants have been reported ethnobotanically from Tehsil Kabal, Swat District. These include the 133 plants (95%) of angiosperms, 3 (2.14%) of gymnosperms, and 2 (1.42%) each of pteridophytes and fungi. The largest family is Lamiaceae represented by 11 species followed by Rosaceae represented by 9 species. Among angiosperms 76 (55.63%) were herbs, 17 (12.78%) were shrubs, and 40 (30.07%) were trees; 127 plants (95.48%) were dicot while 6 plants (4.51%) were monocot. Most of the plants were used for more than one purpose. Generally the plants were used for medicinal, fuel, timber wood, food, and fodder for cattle purposes.

1. Introduction

Ethnobotany is a biological, economic, and cultural inter-relationship study between people and plants of an area in which they exist [1]. Ethnobotanical studies focused on contributing to plant biodiversity knowledge (taking into account that the biological diversity as well as human awareness about the uses, applications, and natural resource conservation) on one hand and take this knowledge for further social and scientific interventions on the other hand [2]. Ethnobotanical research also helps in establishment of priorities of local community to ensure that the local values are translated into rational use of resources and effective conservation of biological diversity and cultural knowledge [3]. More than 5000 plant species belonging to angiosperms are used worldwide for medicinal purposes [4]. Medicinal plant products have been used successfully for various ailments both externally and internally. Despite the increasing use of synthetic drugs, plants materials have persisted as the “treatment of choice” as they have no or less side effects [5]. The present study was conducted to explore indigenous knowledge of plants from Tehsil Kabal, Swat District, KPK, Pakistan. Tehsil Kabal, Swat District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan is located at 34°47′ North and 72°17′ East. Average elevation of the area is about 2400 to 2550 feet. The inhabitants of the area are mostly connected to farming rearing upon livestock and their products and also on the forest products. Health facilities are scarce, especially in the upper parts of the Tehsil, with only one government hospital situated in the Kabal village. Similar types of studies have also been carried out in KPK and other parts of the country by Abbasi et al. [6], Kamal et al. [7], Ali and Qaiser [8], Ibrar et al. [3], Hussain et al. [9], Bukhsh et al. [10], Qureshi et al. [11], Zabihullah et al. [12], and many others.

It is clear that no such study has been done on the plants of this remote area where residents still use plants to cure various ailments. With the advancement of communication systems and education facilities, the local communities are being exposed to modern facilities, and in most cases, traditional knowledge has been replaced with modern knowledge. The present study was tried to document the traditional knowledge of plants utilization of this area.

2. Materials and Methods

The present study was undertaken from August to September, 2010, to document the local uses of some indigenous plants of Tehsil Kabal, Swat, KPK, Pakistan. Information about local names and traditional uses of plants were obtained from local people through direct interviews. Mostly experienced and aged persons, especially elderly women were interviewed. Although interviews were made at random priority was given to the locals of upper parts of the Tehsil, due to their better knowledge of the plants and their frequent uses. Plant specimens were collected, preserved, and identified with the help of flora of Pakistan [13, 14]. Identification of plants was further confirmed through the Herbarium, Department of Botany, University of Peshawar.

3. Results and Discussion

Ethnobotany is an integral part of indigenous/local knowledge of a particular society. Different societies or communities have their own knowledge about plants and their uses [15].

In the present study a total of 140 plants were studied for ethnobotanical uses. Of these 133 (95%) plants were angiosperm, 3 (2.14%) were gymnosperms, 2 (1.42%) belonged to each of pteridophytes and fungi. Out of 133 angiosperms 76 (55.63%) were herbs 17 (12.78%) were shrubs and 40 (30.07%) were trees. The number of monocot and dicots plants were 127 (95.48%) and 6 (4.51%), respectively. Most of the plants were used for multiple purposes. Local generally used these plants for medicinal values, fuel, timber wood, foods and fodder for cattle. Out of these, 91 plants were used for medicinal purposes. The ethnobotanical information obtained are given in Table 1.

Table 1: Ethnobotanical information of plants from Tehsil Kabal, Swat District, KPK.

In the lower part of the Tehsil Kabal the medical facilities like government hospital, private clinics, and pharmacies are easily accessible so the use of plants for medicinal purposes is not a common feature, and they mainly use herbal drugs for colic pains and digestive problems. But the people living in the upper part of the Tehsil, especially the Qalagai, Manrhai, and Surbala villages where hospitals and other health facilities are not easily available to people, use herbal drugs quite frequently. In the present study, 93 (66.4%) plants including Artemisia absinthium, Atropa acuminate, Ajuga parviflora, Ajuga bracteosa, Acorus calamus, Acacia modesta, Berberis lyceum, Cichorium intybus, Caralluma tuberculata, Canabis sativa, Calotropis procera, Mirabilis jalapa, Micromeria biflora, Plantago major, and Ricinus communis are used by locals for medicinal purposes. The medicinal values of most of these plants are also reported by Razaq et al. [16], Ibrar et al. [3], Hamayun et al. [17], Manan et al. [18], and Jan et al. [19] from other parts of the country.

Majority of the people of the area are farmers and they also keep cattle, like buffalos, cows, goat, and sheep, and so forth, in homes. Milk and other dairy products are the source of food and income for most of the people living in the upper parts of the study area. To feed the cattle the local also cultivate various fodder crops. Besides these there are numerous wild plants and trees which are used as fodder for cattle. In the present study the plants that were used as fodder count 35 (25%) which include Avena sativa, Amaranthus viridis, Capsella bursa-pastoris, Cyanodon dactylon, Sonchus asper, Trifolium repens, Sorghum halepense, Melia azedarach, Sonchus oleraceous, Morus alba, Morus nigra, and others.

The folks, especially those living in the upper parts of the area, live a simple life. They use mainly dairy products and plants (vegetables) for food. The plants that are eaten cooked or uncooked by locals include Silene conidia, Amaranthus viridis, Chenopodium album, Caralluma tuberculata, Allium sativum, Malva sylvestris, Nasturtium officinale, Stelaria media, and others.

Most plants, especially trees, are cultivated in the area mainly for fuel wood. Many wild plants are used as fuel. One reason for this is that most of the people of the area are economically not strong and cannot afford LPG as fuel, which is the major alternative for the fuel wood. Plants like Alnus nitida, Artemisia scoparaia, Accacia nilotica, Acacia modesta, Celtis australis, Dodonea viscosa, Melia azedarach, and Alianthus altissima are used as fuel wood by locals. The information gathered in the present study is in line with the works of Ibrar et al. [3], Zabihullah et al. [12], and Khan et al. [20].

The use of plants is an important part in construction of local mud houses and also in making furniture. Alnus nitida, Alianthus altissima, Juglan regia, Morus nigra, Morus alba, Melia azedarach, and others are locally used as timber and for making furniture. Plants like Artemisia scoparaia and Dodonea viscosa are used as thatching material in construction of muddy houses.

The preset study reveals that the investigated area is under great biotic pressure in the form of deforestation and overgrazing. Woody plants have been damaged due to poor management. There is a dire need to conserve the resources of the area for sustainable use by the locals. The area has a rich potential for wildlife and medicinal plants, and as rangeland, but ecological management including protection is required so that future generation are made happy with natural resources.


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